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Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop
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As American Culture Hurtles Into Decline


America's tailspin toward the cultural abyss has gained speed with an ad featuring single-mother celebrity Bristol Palin. Bloggers unfriendly to her mother, conservative entrepreneur Sarah Palin, have bashed a charity for paying Bristol $262,500 to warn against teen pregnancy while doling a pitiful $35,000 to social organizations that actually deal with its problems.

A solid complaint, but one that barely plumbs the sickness of the Candie's Foundation ad campaign. The nonprofit is run by the executives of Candie's, a line of slutty apparel marketed to females age 7 to young adult. Some ads for the brand were so degrading that even Cosmopolitan magazine refused to publish them.

One Candie's promo showed Lil' Kim in a blonde wig and yellow bikini dancing above a group of nuns. Another had actress Alyssa Milano opening a medicine cabinet full of condoms and a bottle of Candie's fragrance. The new Candie's brand video shows Fergie thrusting her cleavage at a young man holding a long-lens camera.

It's pretty twisted: A company that merchandises platform boots with 5-inch heels to young teens now urges them to avoid unwise sexual activities. (Older girls get 7-inch heels. They call them "hooker boots.") And its charity's celebrity spokeswoman is one who achieved stardom by virtue of becoming pregnant at 17 and being the daughter of the moralistic Sarah Palin.

The Candie's Foundation describes its mission as follows: "To educate America's youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA (public service announcement) campaigns and initiatives."

As we recall, Bristol showed up five months pregnant at the 2008 Republican National Convention that nominated her mother for vice president. The father, fellow high-schooler Levi Johnston, stood at her side. Presidential candidate John McCain vigorously shook Levi's hand because ...

because why?

Because Bristol's condition was to be a kind of "pro-life" advertisement for the ticket. Social conservatives hailed the decision to go through with the pregnancy, though they were stuck with the awkward scenario of a young couple who "erred" being paraded around like national heroes. Traditionalists would have regarded an out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy as something to be kept private.

(Sarah insisted back then that Bristol and Levi would get married. They never did, and frankly, if that was in the cards, why weren't they hitched by the time of the convention?)

Anyhow, Bristol became a star. There were online contests to name her baby. After the birth, she and Tripp appeared on the cover of People. She was given a high-profile gig on "Dancing With the Stars." Suffice it to say, Bristol doesn't work the late shift at McDonald's to support her child.

In what bizarro universe does someone like her get to lecture young women on the "devastating consequences" of teen pregnancy. And how does a company that profits off selling streetwalker fashions to teenagers work up the hypocritical juices to also market itself as a foe of adolescent pregnancy?

The chairman of both Candie's parent company and the foundation apologizes for nothing — including spending eight times more of his charity's money on Bristol Palin than on bona fide social entities dealing with the crisis of teenage pregnancies. "That's not what we do for a living," Neil Cole said. "What we do for a living is create awareness."

Awareness for whom? At bottom this seems a marketing scheme to promote both Bristol Palin and the Candie's brand — while enjoying a tax exemption meant for charitable organizations.

It's very hard to protect girls eager to attract boys from sexually unwise behavior — not in the land of free speech and minimal parental guidance. At least the taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize hawkers of provocative dress. This is one confused society.

To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




4 Comments | Post Comment
I agree with the new Froma mostly. I would mention that the " bizarro universe" reaches back to an old liberal saw concerning the ability of learners to "relate" to the material at hand. This approach has led us to a generation or two that, perhaps, is unable to relate to anything outside their personal sphere. Former drug abusers are the approved conduit for drug awareness programs. This is the model for purveyors of trash to gain approval from the politically correct. I know that Froma is more concerned with casting an unflattering light upon Sarah Palin than really talking about how far American culture has plummeted since those bad ol' Ozzie and Harriet days, but I'm afraid to tell her that "social conservatives" are a rebound response to the utter selfishness promoted by the left over the past 45 years. If it's gross and unnecessary a critic will call it "edgy". If you don't want GLBT issues thrown in your or your child's face you will be labeled "homophobe". If you think saddling these children with debt they can never surface above is the ultimate act of selfishness you must be an insurgent Tpartier.

Candie's is child of the left. To say otherwise is a lie. That casts an unflattering light upon a political spectrum that Froma knows well.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:19 AM
The Palins cast an unflattering light on themselves. They show ALL the flaws of the 'social liberals' you distain so much and their only 'saving grace' is a complete lack of social conscience and total self serving greed. Your hero's define you for anybody who cares to look and actually see.
Comment: #2
Posted by: GeorgeC
Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:43 AM
Yeah that that "greed is good" concept was promoted by the left (not). The left promotes a "we" society and the right promotes a "me" society. Always has.You are the only one lying here. Candie's is pure amoral right-wing free market capitalism. Crawl back under your rock.
Comment: #3
Posted by: secularsurfer
Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:31 AM
Oh my goodness, I totally agree with you and I've been known to stake out a position to the right of Atilla the Hun. Great piece, Thanks
Comment: #4
Posted by: eatapeach
Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:41 AM
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